There are only a small number of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) sterilising facilities in the UK of the scale proposed by Rocialle for their site in Mountain Ash, south Wales. With limited UK development experience and knowledge of the technology, making sure the new plant obtained planning permission meant we had to prove how safe the ETO facility would be, as well as dealing with the planning issues for the site and its surroundings.
For over thirty years, Rocialle has supplied healthcare providers with sterile and non-sterile consumable items, vital to patient care. During that time, Rocialle has become widely regarded by both clinical and commercial specialists with wide ranges of single use surgical instruments and medical packs, packed and sterilised at its facilities in Mountain Ash where it employs 350 people. At this site is situated one of the largest medical clean rooms in Europe, and an e-beam irradiation sterilisation plant !
The new multi-million pound ETO sterilising facility will be a major investment for Rocialle, it will help secure employment for employees at its Mountain Ash site for the long term. A large part of the new facility will be housed within the existing factory building, however there is a need to construct an ancillary unit next door. The design, scale and layout of the new building is determined by the specialist nature of the new plant it will house, the ETO plant is designed and manufactured by Sterimed in Switzerland.
Owen Davies Consulting advised Rocialle on the planning for the new plant and achieved full planning permission from Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC in September 2017. The most important planning issues concerned the design and height of the chimney stack to discharge the waste gasses, and satisfying the Authority that pollution control could be managed and the appropriate risk management systems were in place. The project is working to incredibly tight timescales for constructing and installing the new plant and building, and negotiating out any pre-commencement planning conditions was essential to achieving the overall project programme. For example, we dealt with drainage issues to the satisfaction of Officers and removed any potential planning condition that may have taken a couple of months to address.